This came up in my course “Introduction to Computational Media” this year. How does one pan and/or zoom in a 2D Processing world? We could certainly introduce P3D into the mix, but there is a nice, elegant way we can create the effect of panning and zooming and still live in 2D. Here’s how it works.

First, you need to make sure you translate to the center of your window.

  translate(width/2, height/2);

Then you can use the scale() function to scale the world according to a percentage (i.e. 2.0 is 200%, 0.5 is 50%). We’ll use a variable called zoom.

  float zoom = 1.5;  // 150%

Then we can translate additionally to pan according to some offset.

  float offsetX = 100;  // Some arbitrary offset
  float offsetY = 0;

Here is an example (running in processing.js) that allows the user to pan around a design by dragging the mouse, and zoom in and out using key presses.